A prominent, seven-man German delegation who attended the summit included Professors Andreas Gebhardt (Dean of Engineering) and Stephan Kallweit, Alexander Swartz and Max Kunkel (all from FH Aachen); Prof Thomas Seul (Deputy Rector and Dean of Engineering) from FH Schmalkalden; Dr Eckardt Schuster of the Schuster Group; and Tom Zoz of the Zoz Group.
One of the highlights of the week was an announcement by Prof Gebhardt that FH Aachen and Schmalkalden, together with TUT, are at an advanced stage of preparing a project submission for funding to the European Commission Horizon 2020 program to develop a unique tooling and manufacturing solution aligned with Industry 4.0. This is expected to be completed for submission by the second quarter of 2016. The partner network is currently also being expanded to provide the full gambit of capabilities for the consortium towards the successful awarding of funding.
In another exciting development, two students from Aachen announced that they will enrol at TUT toward obtaining DTech qualifications. They presented their proposed topics in the areas of modular tooling and distributed parts manufacture, utilising additive manufacturing solutions.
Delegates were treated to a number of presentations and demonstrations including:
- An introduction to the Aachen and Schmalkalden Universities of Applied Sciences as well as proposals on ways to cooperate with FEBE in a host of disciplines.
- Presentations on the Mechatronics and Robotics capabilities of Aachen, as well as a demonstration of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and their possible applications.
- Two industry presentations by Dr Schuster and Tom Zoz, enlightening delegates about the latest technologies for nano-concretes and potential applications in South Africa. Lectures on Additive Manufacture and Industry 4.0, the latest technology to revolutionise manufacturing, currently promoted by German institutions.
- A presentation on the Robotics Operating System which is currently offered by FEBE as a Summer School, together with the Additive Manufacturing Summer School.
The next teaching visit by the Professors from Aachen and Schmalkalden is planned to take place from 7 to11 March 2016. This will follow the first Robotics Operating System Summer School to be held at TUT in January 2016.
Prof Seul will also lead an industry delegation from the German Tool and Mould Association VDWF to attend a high-level conference that will take place at SA Automotive Week from 11 to13 October 2016. TUT will organise and host the two-day conference at SA Automotive Week entitled Manufacturing and Tooling Innovations.
It is expected that this will put the initiative between TUT and the German universities in the public eye and will connect local captains of industry with prospective future developments between German institutions and TUT.
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